Portfolio Company Spotlight – Carcinotech Ltd

We are thrilled to invite Ishani Malhotra to be our first TRICAPITAL portfolio company interviewee in our new spotlight series. Carcinotech, a pioneering biotech company based in Scotland, is revolutionising cancer research and treatment through cutting-edge technology and innovative solutions.
Founded by Ishani Malhotra, their team of passionate scientists combines deep expertise in cancer research with a mission-driven approach. Carcinotech has developed Carcino3D™, a breakthrough technology offering assay-ready 3D-printed tumours for drug screening and personalised medicine testing by harnessing the power of cancer biology and bioprinting.
Firstly, can you please provide us with an overview of Carcinotech’s core products and services? We are keen to learn more about the innovative solutions your company offers in the field of cancer research and treatment, as well as how Carcinotech differentiates itself in the market.

Carcinotech is a MedTech company specialising in 3D-printed living mini-tumours for drug discovery and pre-clinical testing. With our advanced Carcino3D™ technology, we manufacture these tumours using patient-derived biopsies and a variety of cells, including immune cells and cancer stem cells. By collaborating with global partners, leading pharma companies, and medical professionals, we accelerate drug discovery and aim to improve cancer treatment outcomes.Our Carcino3D™ technology utilises patient biopsies and immune cells to create heterogeneous tumour models. These models can be customised to include specific cell types and even vascularisation or irradiation for combination therapies.Our validated and quality-controlled manufacturing process ensures consistent and reliable results closely resembling clinical biopsy samples. We offer assay-ready 3D-printed tumours that can be delivered to your labs, and our team of 3D oncology experts provide assay services for drug testing, ensuring high-quality data and client success.Our Carcino3D™ printed tumours self-form within 7-14 days and can be cryopreserved and shipped to your labs. They can be tailored to meet your specific drug testing needs, such as patient populations, mutation types, and drug targets. Currently, we offer printed tumours for lung, brain, breast, colorectal, and ovarian cancer, and we can also develop tumours for custom cancers based on your requirements.In addition to drug testing, Carcino3D™ technology can be used for personalised medicine testing. Surgeons and oncologists can utilise our technology to test treatment options, drug responses, and create personalized treatment plans for each patient. By using 3D bioprinting, we surpass traditional 2D models, providing more accurate and representative data for drug screening and testing. Our goal is to advance cancer research and bring more effective therapies to market. Carcinotech is proud to be the leading pioneer in using 3D-printed living tumours for drug testing and cancer research.

Could you share with us the journey of Carcinotech’s investment? What motivated your company to seek funding from TRICAPITAL, and how has the experience of working with them been thus far?

TRICAPITAL provided seed funding to accelerate the commercialisation and market validation of our technology. With the seed funding, Carcinotech was able to validate its technology for four more cancers increasing our revenue streams and expanding our team and facilities. They have also been very helpful in business advice and mentoring alongside supporting the company’s commercial and business development activities. For its seed round, Carcinotech was looking for investors that were focused on investing in science and tech companies and would offer expertise to accelerate Carcinotech’s expansion and development plans. Since TRICAPITAL has invested in various science and tech-focused companies they were an attractive investment firm for Carcinotech.

How has the funding received impacted your growth and development as a startup?

The investment from TRICAPITAL helped Carcinotech reach a new level of development, increasing its revenue streams by developing printed tumours for four more cancers, expanding its team and facilities, and growing marketing and commercialisation activities facilitating the company’s continued growth.

Looking ahead, what are the most exciting opportunities for Carcinotech’s growth and innovation in Scotland over the next few years? Are there specific industries or sectors that you believe will be particularly advantageous for your company’s expansion?

The passing of the FDA Modernization Act represents a major breakthrough in the fight to abolish animal testing in the biomedical and pharmaceutical industries. By offering an alternative to animal models in drug discovery, this legislation allows, for the first time, the use of advanced humanised cell-based models in drug development pipelines.More than 90% of all drug candidates that show promising and effective results in animals, fail when brought to human trials, wasting valuable time and resources in the process. The FDA Modernization Act paves the way for the use of models that are not only more physiologically representative of humans but that open the door to the discovery of life-saving cancer therapeutics.This Modernization act allows innovative companies like Carcinotech to offer cutting-edge solutions, enabling the development of better treatments for each individual suffering from cancer.With the passing of this act, Carcinotech is poised to enter new international markets. In 2023 we are focused on bringing our advanced offering to the US market with discussions already underway with potential clients. This will be a highly profitable market for the company and will be the main focus, alongside growing business at home here in the UK and in Europe.

Finally, is there anything else you would like to share with our readers about Carcinotech’s experience as a funded startup, your involvement with TRICAPITAL, or the broader landscape of startup investing in Scotland? Are there any valuable insights or lessons learned that you believe would be beneficial to other entrepreneurs and investors in the ecosystem?

Scotland creates a fantastic ecosystem for early-stage investments however, later-stage VC investment is still lacking in the country. As Carcinotech looks to scale up and prepare for our Series A investment we would like to see more later-stage investments being made by existing investment firms in Scotland.